A couple of weeks ago, I was in receipt of what I now refer to as “Nanny Texts” — when my ex-husband gives me instructions on the preparation of the kids for an event he’s taking them to.
— Have the kids wear clothes, shoes.
— Make sure they shower.
— No t-shirts or shorts.
— Have them ready by 3pm, this should give you plenty of time.
By the by, all of the kids are teens, and pick-up time is technically at 10am, though often the kids have activities that prohibit early pick up. On this day, however, they did not and the Ex had been informed of this.
As to the directive, “Have the kids wear clothes,” obviously he’d forgotten the word “nice” — he wanted them to wear “nice” clothes. But still it was funny. Sometimes I just read or show or forward the Nanny Texts to the kids to minimize my work as the middle man, so there is no mistake as to what he is requiring, and that it’s coming from him, not me. This time I simply showed the text to the kids, missing word and all.
One girl quipped, “Well, I always manage to wear clothes.”
Another girl said, “Yeah, I was planning to go naked.”
My Ex-husband was taking them to a graduation party of his oldest friend, let’s call him Jerry. Jerry is much older than we are and was actually my ex’s teacher in Middle School at one point. They became friends later as adults. Jerry had been a man approaching middle-age, single, and impossibly neat. People who did not know him well thought he was gay — “not that there’s anything wrong with that” — but folks in the inner circle knew that Jerry was very much like the Jerry Seinfeld character — not quite marriage material, string of women, classic commitment issues.
Jerry had been the Best Man at our wedding and years later when Jerry, a long-time bachelor, suddenly married a woman he’d met on a blind date, my then husband gave the toast. My husband was even (temporarily) named as Godfather to their first-born, and we both visited and held the hours-old baby in the hospital. Jerry’s second child is only seven weeks younger than our first and we have the cutest pictures of the two baby boys together. We were always at all of Jerry’s big family gatherings– kid’s birthdays, baptisms, Super Bowl parties, and when my husband and I started having kids and birthday parties and such, Jerry and his wife and kids were always in attendance. Jerry only came around on special occasions, though, my husband didn’t want him at our house to just hang out because he didn’t think our house was nice enough.
Back when my husband announced his plans to leave me, I suggested that he talk to Jerry about it because maybe he needed to talk to someone other than the two women who had his ear: me and his girlfriend. I thought that the opposing dueling arguments from the two women who have a huge stake in the matter were just canceling each other out.
Well, actually, no, the girlfriend clearly won those rounds, but I digress . . . . My husband refused to confide in Jerry, though, saying that he knew Jerry would just try to talk him out of it and tell him it was wrong.
Alrighty then. Anyhoo . . .
Apart from his club activities, my husband had few friends, Jerry was the only one, really. So it was expected and appropriate that when the marriage ended Jerry and his family would remain friends with him, and not me. I’ve not seen or heard from Jerry or his wife since my husband moved out many years ago.
I actually don’t know whether they socialize regularly now. My Ex-Husband has reinvented himself in many ways.
However, my now Ex-husband was going to attend the Jerry’ s first-born’s graduation party. He would attend with his new wife, their children and our children, who had been directed to wear . . . clothes.
After the teen drama at home about finding the proper clothes, the complaints about why they had to go to this thing, that they don’t really know these people, blah blah blah . . . they managed to get themselves (with my prompting) ready only slightly after the 3pm deadline. But no matter, the Ex didn’t show up until 4:15pm. While they waited, one girl said, “I hate it when he does this,” and her twin, who didn’t even start to get ready until 2:50pm, said, “I told you I’d have plenty of time.” In true Ninja Ex fashion I escaped before he arrived, going to a different graduation party alone. See I Almost Crossed One Of “My Bucket List of Men To Do”
And off they went.
The Nanny Texts piss me off, but I’m used to it now and I know how ridiculous they sound. But later I realized something that did feel weird, though — that my ex-husband and our kids were attending this party with his new family, among people who knew us when our kids were babies and when I was visually present.
Now I certainly didn’t want to go to the party. God no, I didn’t want to go. Nor did I expect to be invited, of course. It just felt a little strange that my (appropriately dressed) children were going to be there (paraded) with the Ex-husband and his new family celebrating with people with whom my ex-husband and I had shared many major life events. It was hard to believe that that hours old baby I had held (and I think it was the first time I’d ever held an “hours old” baby) was graduating high school.
I don’t know, it felt kind of like I’d been photo-shopped out and new people photo-shopped in and that no one would or could acknowledge it, despite all that we shared in the early years.
Just kind of weird.
When the kids returned, though, one of them said,
“Mom, some lady told me to tell you hello.”
I’m not sure who it was. It didn’t matter. It made me smile.
At least someone remembered that I am here . . . or was here . . . or had, at one time, been there . . . or . . . whatever.
Just Me With . . . The Nanny Texts
If anyone is wondering why I did not simply curse my Ex out for the Nanny Texts, my failure to engage with him can be explained in blogs like:
and Perils of Divorced Pauline.
The short answer is that it wouldn’t help. I pick and choose my battles.
See also, I Was The Nanny When My Ex-Husband Got Married and My Very Own Personal Olympic Games
I swear, my ex has written the SAME, incredibly helpful texts. They must use the same playbook.
My main concern is whether the girls will injure themselves rolling their eyes so hard . . .
I felt that almost every day this past year, photo shopped out. Sigh…
When we were married and nowhere near divorce time, my ex told me an important person was being married at our church and he was officiating. The day before the wedding, he told me he dreaded having me lumbering along behind him. I am 5′ 7.5″ and weighed 150 lbs, 20 lbs over my underweight weight of 130 lbs. I informed him he would not have me lumbering along behind him because I would not attend. He was very upset because my absence would reflect on him.
The day of the wedding, he asked me if I were going. NO. So, he told me to have the kids dressed up in their best for the wedding and he would pick them up and I better not be late in cleaning them up and dressing them.
That day, I encouraged lots of hot, sweaty activities, allowed them to play with a hose, told them to make mud pies, and to wash the dog. He arrived at the appointed time and looked at them. He said, “You did this on purpose.” I told him that I was tired of being his childcare worker just so he did not have to, that he could bathe and dress all three, that I had no problem with that. He just turned and left to go alone to the wedding.
Ha! You are my hero!
I forgot to say that I told him we would not attend the wedding, that the children could not go. And, the children did not know about all this drama. He replied with a very scary tone that I had to let them go, that I could not just “not allow” him to take them. I said, “Okay.” The idiot looked like he won a victory. They were 4, 9, and 11. I could get them all bathed, hair washed and dried and dressed in their finest in 30 minutes. He could not in two hours.
Question. So does your ex text you, in regards to your teens, who have their own cell phones because he’s narcissist? AND! Who the hell does he think he is barking out orders to you?
Is it inappropriate to say, “I almost hate your ex?” Excuse me if that’s crossing the line, but the nerve…….. UGH!
I LOVE your calm, nonchalant way of dealing with him. You’re classy and you stay winning with that approach.
Yes, I believe, and my therapists agree that he has a personality disorder. This does not excuse him, nor should it garner sympathy, it just explains a lot and teaches that he will not change. Who does he think he is? He thinks he’s more important.
It is not inappropriate or crossing the line to say you almost hate my ex. No, absolutely not. You see, I started dating him so young, became socially isolated and had no frame of reference that I didn’t know that such behavior was wrong. Doesn’t everybody’s boyfriend keep her from going to parties or hanging out with friends? See my High School Self post. Even after he first left he would say and do things that seemed wrong, but I didn’t know for sure. I’d stopped trusting my gut long ago. I had no frame of reference and he would act like these things were completely normal. His actions, I found out later, are common for people who have his issue. So, it is helpful to hear that his behavior makes him unlikable. The facade of being a “nice guy” needs to show it’s cracks, craters. It helps me. I need to establish a new normal and acknowledge the old abnormal.
I hope I’m coming off as calm. I’ve found it is not helpful to show emotion.
Thank you so much for reading and your comments.
I believe my ex is also a narcissist. I was always told exactly what I was going to do, how I was going to do it, and when (in regards to our daughter). Same type of texts, emails, phone calls and messages- only aggressive and ugly. It did not matter if it was really his visitation time or not or whether or not we had other plans. If I did not want to go along then there was hell to pay for me or for our daughter. She was once in a pageant and I had bought her a dress and made her a hair appointment. He calls and tells me his new girlfriend was going to take her to get her hair done and was going to do her makeup. She had made no appointment and I argued about it so he told me that I couldn’t come to the pageant! I did go, but I had to give the dress that I had bought to his dad and send my daughter with him as well to go have her hair and makeup done with a woman she didn’t like and barely knew. Still makes me mad to think about it. Of course he and that lady are together no more. Last I heard he owed her money and when she came to collect he and his new wife paid her back with a jar of pennies. Ha ha ha ha!!
How could he tell you that you could not come to the pageant?
I believe at the time he was under a restraining order to stay away from me. So he was trying to turn it around and tell me I couldn’t go to it because he would be there. Just a way to try and exert control. Although he wasn’t supposed to call me either, but the r.o. never stopped that.
[…] See also I AM Here! I Am Here! I Am Here! Said the Nanny […]
[…] I am also content with reducing the number of pictures of the groomsmen, since the best man is the most un-photogenic person I’ve ever seen. He was good-looking guy, but didn’t know how to smile naturally. Embarrassingly bad pictures. Anyway, I have not seen him or his wife or family since my Ex left me years ago. I don’t need multiple pictures of him in my house. See, “I am Here!“ […]